Bhopal: Editor-in-Chief of Newsroom24x7 and a well-known environmentalist, Lalit Shastri, today said in emphatic terms that reckless exploitation of bio-resources and conservation cannot go together.
Shastri was speaking as a penalist during the technical session of the State level function organised by Madhya Pradesh State Biodiversity Board at Academy of Administration here today (22 May) to mark the International Day of Biological Diversity. The theme of the IBD 2017 is Biodiversity- Sustainable Tourism and Local livelihoods. Today’s function was focussed on “opportunities and Challenges for Madhya Pradesh to realize the Potential. State Principal Chief Conservator Forest Ravi Shrivastava was the chief guest.
Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Member Secretary State Biodiversity Board R. Sreenivasa Murthy coordinated the event. In his opening remarks, he underlined the mandatory provision in the Biological Diversity Act of 2002 to secure equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of biological resources for commercial purpose. He said that there should be no coercion but the industry and others involved should be convinced and motivated for equitable sharing of benefit with biodivesity management committees as mandated under the Biological Diversity Act.
During the technical session. Lalit Shastri said that there was a time when villagers, owning a number of cows, even had to go through long phases without milk. Whereas now, we are living in an era when there is no shortage and any quantity of milk can be purchased off the shelf. In this context, he said – “every time when you hold a cup of milk, you can imagine that due to the economy of milk production, the cow is getting ready to be slaughtered.”
Shastri drew attention to the depleting forest cover and how species like Arjun, Kali Musali, and Van Tulsi are now threatened in Seoni district as pointed out by an earlier speaker. He said it would amount to over-simplifying matters if one were to conclude that drying up of water sources was the main reason why Arjun trees were on the threat of extinction in the district in question. Stating that various factors have to be analysed before arriving at any conclusion, he did not rule out excessive demand for the bark of Arjun tree, used as the main ingredient in some ayurvedic medicines, as the root cause of the present crisis. Drawing an analogy, Shastri said that addressing media-persons in Bhopal several years ago, Baba Ramdev had said that his entire demand for a few hundred tonnes of herbs could be met by just one State, i.e. Madhya Pradesh. Catering to such a huge market driven demand would spell doom for our ecological system, Shastri pointed out.
Shastri said: “It may not be politically correct to pin-point where lies the flaw but he would be leaving the path of dharma if he failed to speak out”.